CW: Mention of dependency on parents/family which I know is hard for some of my friends here.
I get emotional about this cheap, skinny, old tree every year. It used to be in my bedroom when I was living with my parents and spent so much time ill in bed. Now it’s up in my own home. Duct tape and Christmas spirit holding it up!
I have never recovered or reached remission. I don’t think I ever will. (Not pessimism, but realism.) Instead I have somehow been able to mould something of a life for myself around my ever-present illhealth. As my post from 29th November mentions though, all of that is down to luck, privilege, chance and circumstance. I am very sick but I am also very, very lucky. Particularly with my support network.
This scraggly old tree symbolises some semblance of independence. I was happy living at home with my parents. I would have been happy living in the ‘Anna Annexe’ that we talked about often. And then I would have been happy living with whichever sibling drew the short straw and had to care and look after for me when my parents could not. We had plans in place ready.
But (touchwood) they weren’t needed. Because here I am in my own home, living with a husband I met four years into my time with M.E.
It seemed far-fetched to even wonder if *this* might happen for me. And it was insulting to be told Don’t Give Up Hope (of an independent life of some kind) because of just how ludicrous moving out of my parents care seemed.
Yet now, in my poorly little life, I am experiencing something that (sadly or not depending on their views) a lot of my friends may not get to experience. Something resembling ‘normal’ adult life. A happy, secure, romantic relationship with my best friend. Living in a lovely house with our own garden.
And this tree reminds me of that and how lucky I am, and how much of a privilege that is, particularly within the chronic illness community.
Like so much in my life, this is not just a Christmas tree. It’s a reminder to the version of myself who still feels like not much has changed since those times spent alone in my darkened bedroom, that things do and will change.
May I never take *this* for granted.